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The #1 Probiotic Food: How-To Use Miso in Your Kitchen

Today’s Standard American Diet, or SAD is the most popular diet in the United States. It includes the typical favorites of Americans including large amounts of meat, dairy, fatty foods, and high-sugar items, along with processed foods, junk food, and fast-food. On top of that, there are lingering pesticide residues in many foods today including fresh fruits, and vegetables that most people eat in efforts to stay healthy.2

If you are following the SAD, you may also be exposed to antibiotic residue in your food. It is most commonly found in food-producing animals like poultry (chicken, beef, pork), and it has been recorded in numerous clinical trials to contribute to “superbugs,” or antibiotic-resistant bacteria.3,4

How to Boost Your Health With Probiotics

Probiotics are tiny microscopic bacteria that help to keep you healthy. While it sounds a little strange, there are about 100 trillion of them living just inside your stomach right now, and even more inside your mouth, and on your skin.5  

Researchers have called it a “microbiome,” and it is known to have a BIG influence on not only your digestive function, but your overall health as well. Clinically shown to play a role in immunity, clear skin, anxiety, and cravings you may want to consider probiotic bacteria as a sort-of nutrient in your diet.6,7  

While technically an active living creature, probiotic bacteria can be found to also support a healthy weight, and even reduce the risk of accumulating unwanted extra pounds.8,9

How Can I Get MORE Probiotics?  

One recipe hailing from Japan, a region where eating probiotics is somewhat of a lost art, is miso soup. This broth is derived from a simple combination of water, and tangy miso paste. Made from fermented soybeans, miso is known to have a beneficial effect in promoting the growth of Bifidobacteria, and Lactobacilli probiotic bacteria strains in the body.10

Not only is miso soup delicious, but it also delivers a dose of much-needed friendly bacteria (also known as probiotics) to help repair any damage to your health done by following the SAD (Standard American Diet).

3 Ways to Get More Out of Miso  

Miso paste is a versatile kitchen staple that can add tons of flavor to your next meal. And that’s not to mention the healthy dose of beneficial gut bacteria known as probiotics that it offers. Here are just 3 ways to use miso in your kitchen.  

  1. Miso Spread.The most potent source of active probiotics starts here: in the raw miso paste for good digestion. Before heating, it is said that miso also provides digestion enhancing enzymes. Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans and is an important ingredient to all Japanese cuisine. Keep this in mind as you make yourbatch of miso, as it can be used in numerous applications.  

An authentic miso paste ferment can take up to 2 years to master, and it requires a good understanding of the fermentation process. Without this understanding, your health may be compromised so, if you want to start experimenting immediately with the benefits of probiotics, then a pre-made miso is an ideal alternative.  

Homemade miso paste is the freshest way to capture active probiotics. Here is a simple recipe for DIY miso paste:

You’ll need:  

  • Filtered water 
  • Sea salt 
  • Granulated Kome Koji  
  • Dried soybeans

Directions:  

Rinse 2 cups of dried soybeans and soak them in clean water overnight. Cook the soybeans in 5 cups water for 3-4 hours on the stove until soft. Then, strain the water and place the cooked beans in a high-speed blender or food processor until it is a paste with a smooth consistency. Put the bean paste in a large bowl with 3-5 teaspoons of sea salt and 3 cups Kome Koji (malt-rice) and then mix well. Shape the paste into several balls, removing all of the air. Then, put the balls into the container and pack them down making a flat surface. Place a layer of protective covering (foil) on top of the container and then put it into a dark cool place for the fermentation process.  

  1. Miso Broth. Add 6 cups of water, a 6-inch strip of Kombu, the “King of seaweed,” or other sea vegetable like kelp along with a tablespoon of dashi granules, or other cooking stock to a pan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for 30 minutes under a low heat to extract the minerals and flavor from the kombu. Remove the kombu strip and add 4 tablespoons of active miso paste. High heat will destroy the beneficial enzymes and probiotics in miso paste so, make sure the stove top is at a low-medium setting.
  2. Miso Soup.Like any soup, miso can be tailored to your taste buds. For thicker vegetables such as carrot, beet, squash, onion, celery or zucchini, chop them and bring them to a boil in a separate pan from the miso broth base until they are nice and tender. This will allow you to ensure your vegetables are easy to break down without compromising the integrity of the probiotic-rich broth. Once they are ready, add the vegetables to the miso soup broth along with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce or a soy alternative such as coconutaminos as well as tofu cubes, or other protein. Serve warm and enjoy drinking in the many health benefits of miso!  

Miso is one tasty way to get more beneficial probiotic bacteria into your body for the many health benefits of a balanced microbiome. Add it to your everyday menu with these 3 ways to use miso in the kitchen, and feel free to get creative with miso in any of your traditional favorites.

References: 

  1. NutritionFacts.org. Standard American Diet. Roni A Neff, Jennifer C Hartle. A comparative study of allowable pesticide residue levels on produce in the United States. Global Health. 2012; 8: 2. 2012 Jan 31. 
  2. Timothy F. Landers, RN, CNP, PhD, Bevin Cohen, MPH. A Review of Antibiotic Use in Food Animals: Perspective, Policy, and Potential. Public Health Rep. 2012 Jan-Feb; 127(1): 4–22.
  3. C. Lee Ventola, MS. The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis. Part 1: Causes and Threats. P T. 2015 Apr; 40(4): 277–283.
  4. Luke KUrsell, Jessica L Metcalf. Defining the Human Microbiome.Nutr Rev. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2013 Feb 1. Nutr Rev. 2012 Aug; 70(Suppl 1): S38–S44. 
  5. Elizabeth A. Grice, Julia A. Segre. The Human Microbiome: Our Second Genome. Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. Jun 6. Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2012; 13: 151–170.
  6. Leo Galland. The Gut Microbiome and the Brain. J Med Food. 2014 Dec 1; 17(12): 1261–1272.
  7. QingqingZhang, Yucheng Wu, Xiaoqiang Fei. Effect of probiotics on body weight and body-mass index: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2016; 67 (5): 571 DOI: 10.1080/09637486.2016.1181156 
  8. MekkesMC, Weenen TC. The development of probiotic treatment in obesity: a review. Benef Microbes. 2014 Mar;5(1):19-28. 
  9. QingqingZhang, Yucheng Wu, Xiaoqiang Fei. Effect of probiotics on body weight and body-mass index: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2016; 67 (5): 571 DOI: 10.1080/09637486.2016.1181156 
  10. MekkesMC, Weenen TC. The development of probiotic treatment in obesity: a review. Benef Microbes. 2014 Mar;5(1):19-28.

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